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Mexican immigration wave looming for the US

27 July 20200 comments

The US is facing a fresh wave of migrants from Mexico driven by a COVID-19-fuelled economic collapse, a raft new studies say.

Mexico’s economy is expected to shrink by ten per cent this year. But even before the pandemic, business investment had fallen to historic lows.

And since then more than 12 million Mexicans have lost their jobs or businesses, with the government of President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador doing little to keep companies going or preserve jobs.

And changes and funding cuts to education policy has made it less important and likely that students will stay in school.

Rising violence is also driving hundreds of thousands of Mexicans from their homes and communities. Last year homicides topped 34,000. The first half of 2020 has been even more deadly.

These ‘push’ factors are being supported by ‘pull’ factor of family ties in US.  Mexicans are the biggest migrant population in the US, with the vast majority having arrived legally.

Even with the US’ economic problems, families provide a contact, a first place to stay and perhaps contacts which lead to a job for future aspiring migrants.

Since 2017, more than one million Central Americans have made their way to the US south western border, triggering a harsh crackdown by the Trump administration.

But since the start of 2020, flows fell almost by half compared with the year before.

With COVID-19 restrictions, the movement nearly ceased in April and May.

But the reasons pushing families to leave haven’t changed. Instead, the pandemic is creating a humanitarian crisis – both in Central America and Mexico.

Mexican migration to the US peaked at the turn of the last century. At the end of the 1990s and early 2000s, hundreds of thousands of Mexicans moved north every year, many evading border sentries along the way.

By the mid-2000s, the exodus slowed. For the past 15 years, more Mexicans have left the US than have come each year.

Since January, however, Mexicans have begun heading north again. In recent months, Mexicans arrested at the border have outnumbered Central Americans.

And this migration increase could have an impact in the upcoming US presidential election.

A surge in migrants from Mexico would provide President Trump with a platform for anti-immigrant rhetoric that would appeal to his base of electoral support.

Alternatively, though, his anti-Mexican language could motivate more of the tens of millions of Mexican-Americans to turn out to vote against him.

With Latinos representing 13 per cent of the US electorate, the Democrats could being the beneficiaries.